Gabrielle Giffords vows to return to Congress in a new book detailing the intensive therapy and psychological struggles the Arizona Democrat has faced since she was shot in the head last January.
The Associated Press got its hands on an early copy of Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope, authored by her and her husband, Mark Kelly. The lion’s share of the memoir is penned by Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, but the final pages are said to be the work of the recovering Giffords. "I will get stronger," she writes. "I will return."
In the ten months since the shooting outside a Tucson grocery store, Giffords has relearned how to walk and talk, in addition to coping with the emotionally taxing ordeal of learning the fate of six others killed in the attack.
The AP reports that the book reveals many previously unknown details of the congresswoman’s recovery, including the fact that Giffords did not fully comprehend what had happened until mid-March. Kelly also recounts hearing false media reports that Giffords had died in the shooting before he saw her in a Tucson hospital, where she was in a coma.
While the book addresses dark moments, like when Giffords realized she no longer had the ability to speak, there are also happier elements of her recovery. Readers learn that Giffords retained admirable pop culture knowledge when she responded to a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger with the phrase "Messin’ around. Babies," just months after the former California governor’s extra-marital affair was publicly revealed.
Kelly also takes on Sarah Palin, who was widely criticized after the shooting for a controversial map marked with gun crosshair symbols on congressional districts including Giffords’, indicating targets for Republican congressional hopefuls. Kelly says he spoke to President Obama after learning about the map and thought Palin might apologize, though that never happened.
On a deeply personal note, the book also reveals that Giffords had been undergoing fertility treatments before the shooting in hopes that the couple might have a baby sometime this year.